Spearheading the movement for cooperative, user-led tool production in Quebec’s farming community is CAPÉ, la Cooperatif pour Agriculture de Proximité biologique et Écologique. “AutoConstruction” in French, collective, DIY tool production allows farmers to save money by working together and buying materials in bulk. These projects allow participants to enjoy a dynamic workspace and the expertise of an entire group, in addition to manufacturing unique tools that do not exist on the market yet allow for better farming practices.
Farmer, researcher, traveler and writer Samuel Oslund published this beautiful photo essay while researching L’Atelier Paysan in 2016. According to Samuel, “Whether in France, Quebec, the US, or Italy, I have observed that a common theme of this movement is inclusion and participation. Rather than creating uncomfortable, exclusive or intimidating spaces, the hackathons and builds I’ve observed and participated in are always filled with a mix of ages, genders, and people from different experience.”
“This model gives communities direct access to tools created specifically for their needs, and at the core of the designs is the knowledge that they will be hacked, tweaked, and rethought by each user. This has the added benefit of prompting quicker innovation in future and diverse iterations of the tools as they are adapted to suit different needs.”
When evaluating the success of these projects there are many variables to take into consideration from labor, coordination and design, to development and prototyping. With a hackathon it can be difficult to quantify some of these values, because the events are aimed at actively building skills and knowledge through hands-on practice. In the cold and somewhat isolating months of the Quebec winter, these workshops also serve as an excuse to gather together old and new friends from across the province.
Follow CAPÉ’s AutoConstruction Facebook page to learn more, watch inspiring build videos, and get invoved in the movement!
The 23rd Annual Dairy Sheep Symposium is taking place from Nov 30th – Dec 2nd this year at theEstrimont Suites and Spas, Orford (near Sherbrooke), Quebec. The title of this year’s symposium is “Profitability in Dairy Sheep Production”, and it will focus on genetics and nutrition of dairy sheep flocks. Each year the Dairy Sheep Association of North America travels to a different North American location for this event. Quebec is one of the perfect spots for an event like this to be held as it has a vibrant community of sheep-milk producers and artisan cheesemakers. The 2017 symposium will feature discussions on the development of long-term breeding plans, using milk data, the diet of dairy sheep, and the nutrition of youngstock; producer and cheesemaker panels; and presentations from dairy sheep researchers in Canada and the Roquefort region of France. There will also be visits to Quebec dairy sheep and cheesemaking operations — and don’t forget the banquet with dozens of DSANA members’ sheeps-milk cheeses!
For more information click HERE or contact the organisers directly.
Stefan Sobkowiak runs Miracle Farms, a five-acre orchard that he converted from organic monoculture to a permaculture orchard in 1993. Watch this video where he talks about abundance, biodiversity, and choosing to make a positive change.
The orchard can be a magical place; endless acres of peaches, pears, or apples in gorgeous bloom by the roadside, producing delicious fruit. But an orchard, by definition, is a monocultural crop – nothing but one type of fruit tree that requires a lot of time, effort, money and pesticide to create produce for the billion dollar fruit industry. With organic orchards becoming more common but still very labor intensive, what are future fruit farmers to do? They completely rewrite the book on orchard management by using permaculture.
This is exactly what Stefan Sobkowiak does in Olivier Asselin’s new film, The Permaculture Orchard: Beyond Organic. Sobkowiak owns and operates Les Fermes Miracle Farms, an orchard in Canada that he converted to a permaculturally-diverse organic orchard over the last twelve years. Asselin’s film condenses Sobkowiak’s decades of knowledge and experience into a seriously educational primer on how to propagate, grow, manage, and enrich one’s orchard. Clear instructions, animation, and demonstration make this film an important addition to your video learning library. To read more of this review by Examiner.com, click HERE—>
To purchase this video by DVD or download, click HERE